Buxton FC launches charity foundation to tackle social and economic barriers

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Buxton Football Club has kicked off the new season by launching its own official charity with a mission to address barriers to participation in sport which people experience in the community.

The Buxton Football Club Foundation will build on the local outreach efforts which have become an increasing focus of club leaders in recent years, and will channel money from fundraising activities and commercial partners into social initiatives on and off the pitch.

Chairman Dave Hopkins said: “As the club has grown so has its place in the community, and the more we’ve worked with other community groups, the more we’ve realised that people are facing these barriers – primarily young people, but adults as well.

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“There are also other issues that need to be addressed. If you’re young, Covid probably took a big chunk of your life when you couldn’t be around other children at school. Mental health is another big one. Then there are issues with free school meals and holiday time which Marcus Rashford did so much to champion.”

uxton FC Chairman Dave Hopkins with Trish Winterbottom from NFU Mutual.uxton FC Chairman Dave Hopkins with Trish Winterbottom from NFU Mutual.
uxton FC Chairman Dave Hopkins with Trish Winterbottom from NFU Mutual.

He added: “We don’t always know where the need is so we’ll be working with other charities, the borough council, GPs and schools to look at where people are vulnerable. We now employ a full-time community liaison officer, Chris Hill, who will be building those relationships and seeing where we can help.”

He added: “As the town’s club we want to do our bit to look after its people, and show that the stadium will always be available as a go-to safe place.”

Just a few weeks on from its creation, the charity’s plan of action is still being sketched out but it has already received its first major donation of £6,379 from the Derbyshire Peaks office of the National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society.

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Dave said: “The NFU is a corporate supporter of the club and every year it raises money to put back into the community. We’re glad they can recognise that we’re going to be a part of that.

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“It takes time to build up something like this but we’ve just relaunched out junior section too, the Young Bucks, with 450 boys and girls who represent the club, and all the sponsorship money that comes in for those teams will go directly to the charity.

“From there, it might be a case of helping families to buy a new pair of football boots or some basic equipment. Unfortunately those things can be cost prohibitive to some people in our community. Beyond that, we’ll embark on a programme of all sorts of activities to engage those who might otherwise not be able to get involved.”

The foundation’s ambitions will rely on further donations, and Dave hopes more local employers will come to recognise its potential impact.

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He said: “Any business that wants to find out more about the good things we’re determined to do should contact Jennifer McBain, our head of academy and the charity’s chief executive – write to [email protected].

“If any residents are struggling right now, or know someone who is, please get in touch too. It can feel embarrassing if you’re in a situation like that but there’s no stigma with this and we’ll treat it with complete confidentially.”

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